You may have heard some of our reporting over the last few years about a man named Suave, who is serving a life sentence for murder at a prison in Pennsylvania. The crime was a robbery-turned-shooting that resulted in the 1986 death of 13-year-old Danny Martinez in Philadelphia.
Luis “Suave” Gonzalez was only 17 at the time, making him a juvenile, but he was tried as an adult and given a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of ever being released. He would spend the rest of his life behind bars, and would ultimately die in prison.
That is, until a few days ago.
Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Montgomery v Louisiana case that people like Suave, called juvenile lifers, have the right to be re-sentenced–which means his life sentence could be reduced to time he has already served. As a result of the ruling, Suave and thousands more in his position might have the opportunity to walk free.
I spoke with Suave a few days before the decision was ruled. After the Montgomery v Louisiana ruling, Suave spoke with producer Michael Simon Johnson. Here is our report:
“But I know that if I get out, I’m going to still need some help. Certain things I don’t know. For example, I don’t know how to use a cell phone. I’ve never seen one in my life. You know, I took a computer class, but I know that it’s not the same in the street. If you ask me, ‘go on the Internet and Google something,’ I’d be lost. You know, these are things that I need to learn.”—Luis “Suave” Gonzalez
For more about Suave, listen to Life Sentence from Latino USA:
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